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Recap of 34 Days to #EndtheQuota

DWN Blog - July 18, 2014 - 10:53
THANK YOU for making the 34 days to end the 34,000 immigrant detention bed quota a great success!

Together, we reached thousands of people across the country with actions, vigils, social media, videos, posters, infographics, twitter chats, advocacy days, briefings, legislative meetings, community meetings, presentations, and numerous other activities. So many people stepped up in unexpected, beautiful, and creative ways to express our collective indignation with the system of immigration detention, and the need to #EndTheQuota once and for all!

Here are some of the activities that took place during the 34 days to End The Quota:

  • Father’s Day action in New York to demand that Senator Schumer end the quota and stop taking money from private prison companies.
  • #EndTheQuota to Close Jack Harwell Detention Center, Waco, Texas
  • Twitter chat on LGBTQ rights and the immigration detention bed quota, including the testimony from Barbara Perez, a transgender woman who was in detention for 24 days:
  • “I was detained to satisfy the ‘Bed Mandate.’ The experience was humiliating and dehumanizing. I was denied medication. Generally treated horribly. I was stripped of my womanhood; forced to wear men’s undergarments. Called ‘he-she’ & ‘it.’ The whole experience nearly broke me. For the majority of my time there I was in solitary confinement. I was fortunate to have wonderful people fighting for me. Others are not as fortunate. This needs to stop!”
  • Webinar on the 34,000 immigrant detention quota, including an overview of the immigration detention system, a history and timeline of the quota, and information about efforts to #EndTheQuota.

Continue to stay involved in the End The Quota campaign! For additional resources go to: endthequota.org

Detention Watch Network Launches New Microsite, Featuring “Bedtime Stories” Representing Detained Immigrants #EndtheQuota

DWN Blog - July 16, 2014 - 16:48

As part of the End the Quota Campaign, Detention Watch Network, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Codesign Studio, have launched a new microsite featuring “bedtime stories” told by volunteers representing immigrants who have been or are currently detained by the US government as part of the immigration detention bed quota.
The website, which features the experiences of people in immigration detention, tracks the nights at home that those currently detained have been deprived and calculates the total cost of the bed quota enforcement over the time that the viewer has been to the website.

VIEW BEDTIME STORIES HERE: endthequota.org/bedtimestories

Since 2010, the detention bed quota – a Congressional mandate that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in jails and detention centers in the U.S. at any given time – has stolen countless months, days and hours from immigrants and their families and communities. In 2012, ICE detained an estimated 478,000 immigrants while ICE’s current detention budget is just short of $2 billion. Having a quota on how many people must be locked up every day puts a price tag on immigrant lives. The policy leads to Congress and ICE treating immigrants as numbers filling a quota and products to be bought and sold, not as real people with children and loved ones depending on them.

#EndtheQuota


Watch via @BAJItweet: The Real Crime – Mass Criminalization of Our Communities

DWN Blog - July 10, 2014 - 14:11

via Opal Tometi, BAJI

Please help us share BAJI’s new video, #TheRealCrime. It’s only 4 mins long and we’d love your help to ensure that tens of thousands (if not millions) of people hear this important message that moves us beyond the status quo, and re-frames the issue of mass criminalization (i.e. mass incarceration, immigrant detention and deportation).

In a day and age where divide and conquer is the norm, and the folks aim to pit citizens against non-citizens, African Americans against migrants, and those with a criminal record against those without, it’s our duty to stand in unity against those who ultimately aim to keep our communities under-resourced and oppressed.

We know that we truly are stronger together, so please help us share the video and build beyond #TheRealCrime!


7/7 in #Adelanto: Vigil at Adelanto Detention Center to Launch #DefundDetention Campaign

DWN Blog - July 4, 2014 - 13:27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

COMMUNITY MEMBERS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO DEFUND DETENTION

CONTACT:

  • Christina Fialho, CIVIC, CFialho@endisolation.org | 3852124842
  • Victoria Mena, Defund Detention Campaign Coordinator,  VMena@endisolation.org | 3525621386
  • Luis Nolasco, Justice For Immigrants Coalition Organizer | Nolascoluisf@gmail.com | 9097237409
Vigil to STOP Expansion and Support Migrant Children Adelanto

Community members, advocates, formerly detained immigrants and families devastated by our nation’s immigration laws come together to launch a campaign to Defund Detention, and call for a STOP to the Adelanto expansion. Our communities need healing, not more detention!

Please join the vigil at the Adelanto Detention Center (10400 Rancho Rd, Adelanto, CA 92301) on Monday, July 7, 2014, from 12:30-2:00pm. The vigil will be held while U.S. Representative Judy Chu tours the Adelanto Detention Center. Following her tour, Representative Chu will join the community to report on her experiences inside the facility.

The Defund Detention Campaign is a response to the continued investment in immigrant detention, specifically the proposed expansion of the Adelanto Detention Center. The Adelanto Detention Center already has the capacity to hold 1,300 immigrant men in detention each day. The proposed 640 additional beds will make the Adelanto Detention Center the largest immigration detention center in the country, with 1,940 beds and will then include a women’s housing unit.

“Our archaic system continues to hold onto an arbitrary Congressionally mandated quota that requires 34,000 immigrants to be held in detention each day. Mandatory immigration detention has funneled taxpayer money into private prisons and stretched government resources to the point of failure,” says Victoria Mena, a resident of the desert and the Defund Detention Campaign Coordinator.

Funding an expansion of this facility is irresponsible, especially as tens of thousands of children flood the southern border, escaping extreme abuse, poverty and violence. “Resources should go to help the children seeking asylum, not to grow private prisons,” says Luis Nolasco, organizer with the Justice For Immigrants Coalition, who will be collecting donations for migrant children who just arrived to the Inland Empire. The Adelanto Detention Center is run by GEO Group, a publicly traded corporation that, according to research by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) receives more taxpayer dollars for immigrant detention than any other entity. Yet, GEO Group and the Adelanto Detention Center have been the subject of countless abuse and neglect allegations, including the death of Mr. Fernando Dominguez while in ICE custody in 2012.

Advocates have documented allegations that include inadequate health care, arbitrary and overuse of solitary confinement, lack of sufficient nutrients and maggots in the food. Detained immigrants have also reported harassment by GEO staff and intimidation by ICE officers. These allegations of abuse and mistreatment have placed the Adelanto Detention Center on Detention Watch Network’s list of the worst detention facilities in the country.

“It’s a grave injustice that our government and our President promote this extreme form of isolation and violence. The people should not be forced to fund its expansion,” says Christina Fialho, a California attorney and the cofounder/executive director of CIVIC.

The time to act is now! Expanding Adelanto is unacceptable!

Join us, sign the petition to STOP THE EXPANSION: Bit.ly/No_Expansion and learn more at defunddetention.org.

****The Vigil will also serve as a collection point for food and toiletry donations to support community efforts caring for migrant children and families new to the Inland Empire. The most needed items are: Baby formula, baby food, diapers, canned food, nonperishable food, and personal toiletries *****
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20 Members of Congress Call for an End to the Indefinite Detention of Immigrants

DWN Blog - July 2, 2014 - 13:10

via the Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard:

Members urge the Department of Homeland Security to reform America’s unfair and inhumane detention system

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) and Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) led a group of 20 Members of Congress in writing a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, calling on him to reform his Department’s flawed immigration detention policies.  The letter follows President Obama’s statement earlier this week that he intended to use his executive authority to address the worst aspects of America’s broken immigration system. Each year, almost 400,000 immigrants are locked up at U.S. detention facilities, at an annual cost of more than $2 billion to the American taxpayer.  Disturbingly, a series of abuses, including beatings, sexual assaults, and management cover-ups, has been reported at these facilities. In their letter to Secretary Johnson, the Members decried the fact that immigrants may currently be held indefinitely in our nation’s detention centers without any opportunity to appear before a judge.  To correct this troubling lack of due process, they urged Secretary Johnson to provide all immigrants in prolonged detention with a bond hearing within six months of their detention. They also encouraged the Secretary to take steps to allow for greater use of proven Alternatives to Detention (ATD).  These measures, including ankle bracelets and telephonic monitoring, offer a more humane, cost-effective option to keep track of vulnerable immigrants.  Finally, in an effort to prevent future abuses, the Members called on the Department of Homeland Security to fully implement its most recent detention standards—the 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS)—at all facilities where immigrants are held. The full text of the Members’ letter is below.

It’s time to bring our unjust and inhumane approach to immigration enforcement back into line with our American values,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “This includes ensuring that everyone in our government’s custody has access to basic due process.  Indefinite detention is contrary to our nation’s bedrock legal principles, and it should no longer be a feature of our immigration system.  I urge President Obama and Secretary Johnson to make immigration detention reform a priority as they consider badly needed changes to the ways we enforce our immigration laws.

Our broken detention system is coming at a high cost both to taxpayers and families who are needlessly being ripped apart,” said Congressman Bill Foster. “Every year, we spend over $2 billion detaining immigrants when we could be making better use of alternatives to detention that cost anywhere from 70 cents to $17 a day. I am pleased that President Obama will be taking executive action on immigration, and I strongly encourage him to reform our broken detention system.

After visiting the Northwest Detention Center in my district to speak with detainees on hunger strike, it became clear to me that standards surrounding our detention practices need to be fixed,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “Many detainees are fathers or mothers that have committed no crime, yet are being held in unacceptable conditions for a prolonged period of time.  With House Republican’s refusing to bring up comprehensive immigration reform, we need to act now.  I urge President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson to encourage Alternatives to Detention and reform our detention system.

——————————- July 1, 2014 The Honorable Jeh Johnson Secretary Department of Homeland Security 3801 Nebraska Ave, NW Washington, DC 20528 Dear Secretary Johnson: We are pleased that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is conducting a review of its deportation practices and write to encourage you to consider badly-needed reforms to DHS’s detention policies as part of that process. We remain deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in immigration detention in recent years. As you know, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 – the most recent year for which statistics are publically available – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a record 478,000 individuals [PDF], a nearly 500 percent increase over the last decade.  All told this year, American taxpayers will spend over $2 billion to maintain 34,000 detention beds – a congressionally imposed, arbitrary number that does not reflect the actual needs of your agency. We are heartened by your recent testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security clarifying that the Department will continue to reasonably interpret this quota as a requirement to maintain those detention beds, but not to keep them full unless necessary. While we continue to press for legislative reforms in Congress, we urge you to make the following administrative changes to your Department’s immigration detention policies

  1. Adopt a national standard providing all immigrants in prolonged detention with a bond hearing after no more than six months, consistent with recent circuit and district court decisions.

ICE continues to detain individuals for months or even years while their cases are pending. Many either receive no review of their prolonged detention, or only paper reviews by DHS that serve  to “rubber stamp” their continued incarceration. We strongly encourage you to adopt a national standard providing all immigrants in prolonged detention with a bond hearing before an immigration judge after no more than six months, where the government bears the burden of justifying their continued incarceration.  This is in line with Supreme Court precedent holding that prolonged detention without review by a judge raises serious constitutional concerns.  Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit adopted this six-month rule and it should now be expanded nationwide.

  1. Revise the Department’s interpretation of mandatory custody.

The DHS interpretation of mandatory custody under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) should include supervision of individuals on alternative forms of custody that are short of physical, jail-like detention. The statute does not place any textual limitation on the meaning of “custody” and the term is not defined  in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or other immigration regulations. In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that determining whether someone is in “custody” should be based upon the identity of the custodian and not the form of custody employed. Such an interpretation would allow for expanded use of proven alternatives to detention (ATD), which represent a highly effective means of meeting the goals of civil immigration detention. ATD also cost between 17 cents and $17 dollars per day making them much more cost effective than physical detention, which costs around $159 dollars a day. Moreover, they constitute a more humane option for vulnerable individuals, such as mentally ill, elderly, and pregnant immigrants.

  1. Bring all facilities into line with the 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) and additional directives, and take steps to close down facilities with a history of abuse.

ICE’s facilities, which include private prisons, state and local jails, as well as ICE-owned facilities, operate under widely varying detention standards, including prior versions of the PBNDS dating from 2000 and 2008. ICE reports that approximately 40 percent of the agency’s average population is not covered by the most recent 2011 PBNDS. All ICE facilities should operate under the 2011 PBNDS, the Prison Rape Elimination Act regulations, and the 2013 Segregation Directive. DHS should also rigorously evaluate facilities, make all reports and audits of detention facilities public in a timely manner, and end contracts with any facilities where the two most recent overall performance evaluations received by the facility were less than “adequate,” as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. These common-sense reforms will help ensure that our nation conducts immigration enforcement in a more fair, cost-effective and humane way and we urge you to swiftly adopt them. We look forward to continuing to work with you on immigration policy and other critical issues facing our nation. Sincerely,

  • Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
  • Congressman Theodore E. Deutch
  • Congressman Bill Foster
  • Congressman Adam Smith
  • Congressman Beto O’Rourke
  • Congressman Raul M. Grijalva
  • Congressman Sam Farr
  • Congressman Albio Sires
  • Congresswoman Dina Titus
  • Congressman Marc A. Veasey
  • Congressman James P. McGovern
  • Congresswoman Janice D. Schakowsky
  • Congresswoman Suzan K. DelBene
  • Congresswoman Gwen Moore
  • Congressman Jared Polis
  • Congressman Rush Holt
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee
  • Congressman Mike Quigley
  • Congressman Jim McDermott
  • Congressman Tony Cardenas